A woman’s place?

Challenging values in 1960s Irish women’s magazines

Ciara Meehan
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This book explores the often contradictory representations of and advice given to Irish women in home-grown magazines published in the 1960s. Woman’s Way is explored, alongside the lesser-known titles Woman’s View, Woman’s Choice and Young Woman. These magazines guided readers on how to attract a husband, maintain their marriage and raise a family. But they were also manuals for modern living, and an inclusive reading of them offers a fresh perspective on domestic ideology and the role of women. Editors pushed at traditional expectations cautiously, careful not to alienate any section of their readers. Nonetheless, they advocated that readers be active citizens, and they sought to educate, as well as entertain. The magazines addressed and debated such women’s issues as the body and reproductive rights, working wives and equal pay. They also drew attention to the needs of women otherwise on the margins of society – widows, unmarried mothers and the never-married woman. This book argues for a reassessment of the women’s movement in Ireland, to allow for a broader understanding of the actors who contributed to the demand for change. It provides an analysis of the ways that Woman’s Way and its competitor titles subverted traditional understandings of the role of women and their position in society. A woman’s place? considers the motivations of editors, the role of readers and the influence of advertisers in shaping complex debates about women, their lives and their rights in 1960s Ireland.

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